Bucket lists

At 22 I have seen some of the things I have always wanted to and more! But there still is more I want to see and of course there always will be.

If you have done any of the things on my list below please get in touch about your experiences.

1. Volunteering

I have always volunteered in some capacity at home but I would love to combine this with travel. There are some amazing humanitarian causes and animal sanctuaries which I would love to work with while experiencing a new and different cultures.

Volunteering can offer amazing non-monetary rewards to those involved. The difficulties surrounding volunteering is that the volunteer must be in a financial position to work for free for a period of time.

2.  Cruise

Many people have said a cruise holiday are for a slightly older traveler. I see a cruise as a fantastic opportunity to visit several countries on the same trip while also spending some time at sea.

Many people travel around the world to visit Europe, Asia, America or Australia but while air fares are so expensive it may be hard to visit more than one or two countries on each continent.

Great cruise opportunities arise for travel to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Asia. Cruise holidays have also become more and more affordable as they have become more popular.

3. Iceland

Iceland has been the rising star of travel and tourism in recent years and its popularity has grown hugely. From the natural wonders to the food and people of Iceland, there are more reasons than ever to visit the island.

iceland

Flights are becoming more frequent and more affordable with WOW.com and others now flying to Reykjavik from European cities. Bloggers and social media personalities have been front and centre in promoting Iceland and all it has to offer. Instagram and Snapchat are excellent platforms for the extremely photogenic country.

4. Safari

Many people adopt animals or sponsor animal sanctuaries around the world. Animals also provide tourism to many countries in Africa and Asia especially.

Animal habitats and environmental sustainability are providing excellent holidays in places such as Kenya, Cambodia, South Africa and many more.

Safair SA.net

These holidays are enjoyable, educational and provide more than a fleeting sense of relaxation for a week or fortnight but rather they provide a lasting sense of understanding and achievement.

5. Washington D.C

Being a love of politics and history, I have always wanted to visit Washington D.C. While Washington doesn’t receive the same hype as New York or L.A, it does offer its visitors plenty to do.

The White House and the Smithsonian museum are the two big hitters in Washington D.C for tourists. A place of history and education which is often overlooked, Washington D.C is close enough to New York, New Jersey and other areas so the visit does not have to begin and end at the White House tour.

 

There are multiple places I have left off the list for the sake of brevity but if there is any place I have obviously missed out on please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public transport abroad- money saver

There are many ways to save money when travelling, most involve a little bit of preparation and planning but public transport is an easy one.

Once you arrive in the airport and collect your luggage you have the task of getting to your hotel, hostel or Airbnb. Almost all major cities have some transport system from their airports to the city centre.

My own city (Dublin) actually has pretty poor public transport from our airport but thankfully that is the exception.

Taxi’s, Uber’s and private transfers can all rack up a large bill while public transport is more affordable and usually very regular.

If you are visiting a destination which does not have shuttles or public transport, book transfers with your travel agent. Travel agents offer safe transfers and they usually don’t cost too much.

Paris, Rome and London all have rail and bus services which go straight to their city centre. The transport is often clean, affordable and reliable. The transport also adds to the experience of the adventure.

A taxi from Oxford Street in London to Stansted airport would cost approximately £150 while a bus costs about £15 and the train costs roughly £34-£45. Many trains allow you to book your tickets online and reserve seats so you beat the queues at the ticket machines and don’t have to worry about full trains. Stansted Express Tickets

Rome and Paris are similar with regular trains serving Termini and Gare Du Nord. Airports are very often on the outskirts of cities so private cars will inevitably cost considerably more unless you are staying near the airport.

This is one of the best ways to save money while travelling and it requires just a small amount of research to make sure you can get to your hospitality using public transport. It may look cool to have a guy holding a placard with your name but it is usually not worth the cost.

 

One more reason to visit Orlando

There is no shortage of reasons for visiting Orlando but Universal have just added one more very large reason.

Volcano Bay is Universal’s new water park which features a 200-foot man-made volcano at the centre of the park.

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The park includes two lazy rivers, a wave pool with several types of waves not to mention 18 different rides.

Universal are attempting to change the features guests hate most about water parks; queues and carrying rubber rings to the top of slides. Queues are virtual using wristbands and rubber tubes are carried to the top of all rides.

Volcano Bay will replace the Wet n’ Wild park which closed at the end of 2016. Volcano Bay is situated next to Cabana Bay and will be included in the park tickets for Universal Studios.

The park has restaurants, private cabana’s and interactive water features which work using the wristband. Using the Tapu Tapu wristband, guests can reserve a return time for a ride without physically standing in line. The wristband will alert you when it is time to return to your ride.

Volcano Bay opened its doors to guests in May and is sure to be packed as holiday goers trek to the park in the summer months.

 

 

Student travel is crucial. Now more than ever!

The terrorist attack in Manchester was the most horrific of attacks on the youngest members of society.

Chat shows in the UK have run interviews with mothers and children asking if they are too scared to go to concerts, sporting events or Disneyland for fear of terrorists.

If we read the news and the news only we become locked in this cycle of bad news and stereotypes. That is not the fault of the news, it is not their responsibility to tell us every detail, good or bad, in every country around the world.

If students, and indeed and other groups in society, travel and meet people of different views and beliefs we can begin to break down these barriers in our society.

It is up to people to show the terrorists that fear will not stop travel and understanding and it is also up to people to show their fellow citizens that resorting to hatred brand-all rhetoric is not helpful either.

We are in a position to travel, we are in a position to vote, we are in a position to learn new languages and try new foods. It seems irresponsible to base our opinions of world affairs on what is written in any newspaper when we have all of this at our disposal.

These two issues may seem separate but they are not. For simplicity, a narrative of ‘The West’ vs ‘Terrorists’ has evolved. Nobody wants terrorism and those responsible should be brought to justice.

We must not be deterred from expanding our knowledge of other peoples, cultures and beliefs. We must make an effort to enjoy the good in life without fear.

I have heard people say they would never travel to France as “It’s too dangerous” “There isn’t enough police on the streets” etc from people who have never been to France.

I have heard people shocked that the Army are on the streets of Britain but when I tell them it is the same in Paris and Rome they don’t already know that because the news never said so.

The world is far bigger than what can be shown on any television station or indeed all television stations. The world is far larger than what can be covered on the internet but it is no longer too large to visit.

Do it for selfish reasons, break down the barriers you have inherited by osmosis from your news station and boast about what you know about Italian food or Judaism from your trips to Italy or Israel. If each person who can do this does and we all talk about it we will begin to get a far more realistic version of reality than the news can show.

 

Kong: Skull Island

Kong is back. If you are going to a place called skull island and you need a military escort, you better hope you have travel insurance too. 

 Rated: 3/5

Starring

  • Samuel L Jackson
  • Brie Larson
  • Tom Hiddleston
  • John C. Reilly

Directed by 

  • Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Set in 1973 Kong: Skull Island allows us to join a group of scientists on an expedition to an undiscovered island.

Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston and John C. Reilly are just some of the stars in this blockbuster.

As Preston Packard (Jackson) and his team are about to leave Vietnam after the war they are asked to escort a group of scientists to a previously undiscovered island.

When the team arrive they are accompanied by photojournalist Mason Weaver (Larson), ex-British army man James Conrad (Hiddleston) and Bill Randa (John Goodman) and his team of scientists.

As the teams fly through a storm system and emerge at a beautiful oasis of green hills and lakes they do what humans are best at. They drop bombs and destroy the land.

Their bombs awaken some things that are best left undiscovered and for that they will have to face the consequences.

As the group attempt to get off the island they run into native peoples and Hank Marlow (Reilly) who landed on Skull island 37 years previous during World War II.

Marlow lends his local knowledge to help the team avoid the wildlife but typical human need for revenge and violence means things get a lot bloodier.
One of the movies best features was the told of Mason Weaver (Larson). The photojournalist shows she’s just as good shooting with a rifle as with her camera.
Similar to the 1933 Kong movie, Mason is the distressed woman who makes a connection with Kong while all the men are shooting at anything that moves.

The movie is not over reliant on “the hunk” that is Tom Hiddleston. Which is a pleasant change from Jurassic World and the Chris Pratt craze.

Skull Island is not the worst digital remake of a classic monster movie but it is by not means a classic.

A movie worth seeing if you are at the cinema but not something I would be devastated about missing.

How Trump created his own media

President Trump has made an enemy of the media, something previous presidents would have done at their peril but not President Trump.

Trump has used Twitter to announce the signing of executive orders and basically had a diplomatic argument with Mexico over social media. The use of Twitter has allowed President Trump to say whatever he wants and the media are constantly reacting. Twitter is allowing Trump to set the agenda.

I probably should point out that this is not a pro or anti-Trump post. I am interested in how he has manipulated the media to get himself in the oval office and how he is continuing to do so.

In a world of brevity and 24 hour news cycle, the media has often been sensational on Trump and at times been incorrect or unfair. In a week of executive orders on the environment, abortion, Mexico, voter fraud and more the media was sidelined by the size of crowds at the inauguration.

“Fake News” and “Alternative Facts” were two phrases which threw the global media into a frenzy while Trump continued to sign executive orders. If the media use facts and logic to challenge Trump instead of getting caught in sound bites and crowd size arguments then his presidency will be truly challenged.

The media should also recognize that the orders Trump are signing were ones he promised on the campaign trail so we should not be surprised and we should probably stop acting like every American is disgusted with his actions. A lot are, the majority are but he won the election on those promises. If the system is flawed you can’t blame Trump for that.

The rest of the world needs to realize America is important but we need to focus on ourselves and voting for people we want to run our country. President Trump will almost certainly only last 4 years so the media needs to hold on to their values and not be caught in the social media war with Trump.

 

Time to make a big decision

Usually I only write about places I have already visited and I like to offer tips and warnings about these places. I have had an opportunity to work in Boston for the Summer.

My job has offered places to students who wish to work in Boston between June and September 2017 on a J1 visa. Usually these things wouldn’t appeal to me because of the practicalities; I have college, my girlfriend is here, could I afford it, could I live alone in a different country for 3 months. But something has been gnawing at me this time.

Maybe I should just apply and see what happens? The contract is until the end of September and I will be starting final year of college at the beginning of September. Is that a legitimate excuse not to go or am I just looking for reasons because I am too scared? I’m not sure.

If I apply there is absolutely no guarantee that I would get the job but if I did get it and pulled out it would look extremely unprofessional. I also have my braces on and I return to my orthodontist monthly so that would be effected.

I have never had a yearning to see Boston but something is telling me to throw myself in the deep end and just apply. I have plans to do some more travel this year with a return to Florida and a trip to New York on the cards along with more travels of Ireland but this would all be cancelled if I got the job in Boston.

I have until Monday to apply, I don’t often find myself this torn and I am very often the most decisive person in the world but this decision has me twisted.